In order to create a bright future for our city and its children, Milwaukee faces both opportunities and challenges. Despite anchoring a largely middle-class state, Milwaukee is currently the fourth poorest city in the country. It is also Wisconsin's only community with a majority of African American, Latino, and Asian American residents.
While Milwaukee is a city built on decades of hard work and a desire for true equity, its long history of experiments in education reform has largely failed its students. Over 127,000 students attend schools in three separate systems—public, charter, and choice—yet despite this proliferation of alternatives, none has lead to consistently high levels of achievement. Only 46 percent of the Milwaukee kids who enter the public school system will graduate from high school, and of those who do, less than 20 percent are truly prepared for college.
When Teach For America joined the movement in Milwaukee in 2009, it joined a community determined to change the status quo. Organizations like Pearls For Teen Girls, Schools That Can Milwaukee, PAVE, Public Allies, Common Ground, Boys & Girls Club, and many others work toward a community-wide vision for Milwaukee. They continue to prove that collective efforts will provide our students with the education they deserve.
Teach For America's role in this city is simple—to provide excellent leaders to our community, in our schools, in classrooms, and beyond. Milwaukee students and parents are calling for committed individuals to help shape a better future for the community, and we are humbled and committed to help answer that call.